When Law and Justice Part Ways

At the time this piece was published, four people had been arrested in Durham for allegedly taking down a Confederate statue.  They allegedly broke the law.  Now let’s talk about justice.

History has painfully provided us with countless examples of how law and justice, though they are two related concepts, can be different.  Far too often, they are.  It is easier to denounce lawful injustice when we can hide behind decades of separation, so perhaps it can be useful to start with examples of individuals who fought for justice generations before us.

Many currently highly regarded activists of the past have broken the law in the name of justice, in the United States and elsewhere.  History has been kind to the activists of the Boston Tea Party.  Slave Rebellions were lead by currently widely celebrated heroes who not only fought for their freedom, but helped others escape slavery.  Civil Rights activists of the 1960s who compromised their personal safety to participate in sit ins and marches parted ways with the law in the name of justice.  And notably, they did not count on the law to be enforced in ways that would protect them.  Many of us are far too familiar with images and stories of protesters being spat on, beaten, and killed with impunity.

And then there is the present.  We cannot afford to lounge in complacency about what is happening in our country today.  We cannot simply rely on hindsight when we discuss the distinction between law and justice.  Hatred’s heroes have become much more visible, more powerful.  How far will the law take us towards justice?  Most importantly, what do we do when we feel that the law and true justice have parted ways?  Who has the power to achieve justice?

The Carolina Justice Policy Center, in keeping with a commitment to true justice, wants to hear your thoughts.  But more importantly, we want to hear what you are doing to enact your vision of justice.  If you are concerned about justice in your community and are planning to do something about it, we want to help you share your plans and call others to action.  Please consider writing for our blog by submitting your thoughts to thale@justicepolicycenter.org with the subject line “CJPC Justice Blog.”  Let’s talk about justice.  And then let’s make it happen.

Sincerely,

B. Tessa Hale

Associate Director

Carolina Justice Policy Center

Person/Caswell DA Resigns Following Investigation

Person/Caswell County DA Wallace Bradsher has resigned. His resignation follows a nearly 10 month investigation into alleged theft at his office, as well as the office of prosecutor Craig Blitzer. Craig Blitzer resigned in March. The investigation has been conducted by the State Bureau of Investigation and has been lead by Wake County district attorney Lorrin Freeman. Freeman declined to comment on whether the resignation was part of a plea deal. The investigation involved allegations that in an effort to circumvent laws preventing Bradsher and Blitzer from hiring their own wives, they hired each other’s wives without requiring them to work. Governor Roy Cooper has appointed Jacqueline Perez, an Assistant Attorney General with the North Carolina Department of Justice, to serve as Bradsher’s replacement. Learn more about Bradsher’s resignation here and about Jacqueline Perez here.